Self-Study Japanese

Updated: 3rd Feb 2021 12:12PM
Below are some resources to get yourself to start learning Japanese.

Before you start, below are some suggested requirements.
1) 2 hours of self-study time per day

2) Pencil and notebook

Step 0 (optional): Understand a bit about the language via Wikipedia.

Step 1: Learn 2 of the writing systems, Hiragana and Katakana
Download practice worksheets from here. (Credits: MLC Japanese)

Step 2.1: Learn about the various grammatical terms, word order and the 4 basic grammar patterns of the language.

2.1.1) Noun wa Noun desu. (e.g. watashi wa Ken desu / watashi wa kyoushitsu desu)
2.1.2) Noun wa Noun jya arimasen (e.g. watashi wa Ken jya arimasen/ watashi wa kyoushitsu jya arimasen)
2.1.3) Noun wa Noun desu ka (e.g. anata wa Ken-san desu ka/ Ken-san wa kyoushitsu desu ka)
2.1.4) Noun mo Noun desu. (e.g. Ken-san wa kyoushitsu desu. Kimura-san mo kyoushitsu desu)

Step 2.2 (optional): You may wish to learn some “survival” Japanese here and some useful daily expressions here.

Step 3: Learn Japanese accents and intonation.
I think this video is not bad to learn Japanese accents and intonation.
Learning accents and intonation is very important in the language.
This course is also recommended.

Step 4: Learn how to give a self-introduction.
Resource here

Step 5: Learn how to express time in Japanese.
Resource here

Step 6: Learn about Japanese particles (connectors between nouns and verbs, nouns and nouns, etc. in the following order:
Refer to MLC Japanese page on particles here

Step 7.1: Learn about verbs/actions.
Extra resources here, here, here and here

Step 7.2: Learn about verb tenses.
Resource here

Step 8: Learn about Japanese particles in the following order:
Review: に→で
New particles: の→へ→に→で→ね→よ→が→より

Step 9: Learn how to express days of the week and days of the month.
Link (credits: MLC Japanese)

Step 10: Buy a book to help you with your learning.
For self-learners, I recommend Japanese for Busy People.
For those who have Japanese friends who can help you along the way,
I recommend Minna no Nihongo.

Alternatively, you may wish to sign up for our classes, so that there is at least someone to guide you with studying. Look at our upcoming classes here.

Step 11: While doing Step 10, write loads of Japanese sentences and read them out.

Step 12: Learn Kanji (Chinese characters/3rd writing system).
MLC Japanese provides a good starter page to learn Kanji. Link
You may wish to also learn about radicals here.

Step 12.2: Learn Japanese verb conjugation.
Verb Groups (their class is supposed to be groups) here
Resources here, here , here , here and here
U-verbs: Group 1 / Ru-verbs: Group 2 / します and 来ます: Group 3
(To native Japanese speakers, there is no such thing as U-verbs and Ru-verbs, etc.
There is only 五段動詞、一段動詞、サ変動詞 and カ変動詞.)

Step 13: Watch Japanese dramas with English subtitles. You can find them on Youtube.
I recommend “Ghost Mama” and “Majo no Jyouken (魔女の条件)”

Step 14: Learn about some Japanese culture.
14.1) Uchi and Soto
14.2) Honne and Tatamae
14.3) Omoiyari
14.4) Other cultural things to take note of Link Link2 Link3 Link4
14.5) Working culture in Japan Link

Step 15 (Optional): Refer to our free materials here if you require additional help.

I will try my best to update this page every now and then. If this information has helped you, please drop us a message via the Contact Us form so that we can continue to share more great information.

1) Online Dictionary:

2) Tae Kim’s Japanese:
(I personally think that his website are for those who have self studied for at least 3-6 months, as he approaches the language using casual style first. My personal thoughts as well as thoughts from some other veteran native Japanese teachers is that it’s always good to start from polite style.)

3) Portal for learning Japanese: